Harry Brown

Yesterday I watched “Harry Brown“.  It is a very dramatic crime movie with Michael Caine playing the main character.  If I were to describe this film in the shortest possible way, I’d say it is an English version of the American movie “Grand Torino” with Clint Eastwood.  It is not the same – the story is different, the circumstances are different, the outcome is different.  But they have the same theme – an old man, retired decorated veteran, taking measures in their own hands, after the younger generation going nuts and the rest of the world not paying any attention to it or not being able to control it.

While I really did enjoy “Grand Torino” – only now I realized that I haven’t reviewed it, which I will correct shortly – I think that “Harry Brown” is a better movie on this particular subject.  It is more dramatic, it shows the problem better, and it is not as much drag to watch.  There is some and much needed action in it too, unlike “Grand Torino”, which is purely a drama movie.

Even though both films seem to be shot on a low budget, at least compared to current Hollywood budgets, neither one of them looks cheap.   But this type of movies are not there for their special effects.  They illustrate the problems with the society.  They make you think.  And they also make you enjoy the acting.  Excellent acting is the backbone of “Harry Brown”.  Each and every character in this film is full and complete.  Each and every character is as realistic as it gets.  And in case of the young criminals and drug addicts maybe a tiny bit too realistic.  Some of the worst scumbags are shown as they are – the point where you think it’s OK to bypass the whole institution of criminal law and head directly to the right and wrong approach.

Overall, a very strong movie which gives both something to think about and something to experience.  Highly recommended.  5 out of 5.


It’s been a while since I wrote  a movie review.  This is mostly because with all the crappy films that came out recently, I lost my inspiration for a bit.  I’m glad to report that my inspiration is back on track.   How could it not be, with the film like “Inception“, which I went to see in the movies on Saturday night?

We, the non-14-years-old audience, were waiting for this or similar movie for a really long time now.  It’s everything you want from a movie and more – it’s smart, it’s engaging, it’s entertaining, it’s thought-provoking, it’s pleasant to look at, and it gives you something to talk about for days after.  I’ve heard plenty of positive reviews of this movie.  And I’m sure I haven’t heard even a tiny bit of them – currently the film is #3 in IMDB’s Top 250 films of all times.

For me personally, the movie was quite a surprise.  It is similar in different details to so many other movies, yet it is unique, standing on its own, and way better than most.  While a lot of people, of course me included, enjoyed the twisted story, I was mostly taken away by the visuals.  The combination of great visual effects and outstanding photography are break-taking.  It is on par with the bullet-time photography of “The Matrix”, adjusted for a years that pasted.  In particular – two scenes that were jaw-dropping: bending of the city, which is partially seen on the poster, and the fight in the hotel corridor.  During these two scenes I almost totally forgot what the movie was about – it looked so great, that I had a huge “Wow!” sign occupying all space inside my head.

I’ll say even more.  Do you remember when the “Avatar” movie came out?  It was great, wasn’t it?  But you had to use the 3D glasses which were annoying, and you sorta had to see the movie, because there was so much hype about it.  These two things for me were a bit offsetting.  I was expected it to be great.  I had to force myself to wear the glasses.  “Inception” on the other hand was totally unexpected, and it came in 2D (thank you whoever made that decision).  I went to see a twisted story with Leonardo DiCaprio, and I what I got out of it was so much more.

Anyways, I can talk about this movie for hours.  But I’d rather do it with people who saw it.  So, don’t miss out your chance – movies of this superb quality don’t come out that often.  Do yourself a favor and see it in the cinema.  It pretty much requires the big screen.  It’s so good that I’ll probably go see it again, and end up buying a DVD or something.

Absolutely a 5 out of 5.  Highly recommended.

The Dark Knight

The other day I went to see “The Dark Knight“, also known as the latest story in the series about Batman.  I am not a big fan of superhero comics, with Batman being no exception.  But I’ve seen all the movies so far.

I have to say that this one was the worst.  It was too long and too boring.  It had great cast, but that didn’t help the film one bit.  There are a few special effects, but the overall boredom burries them in the long propagandic dialogues.  In fact, the movie is total crap except for one bit, which makes it worth watching – The Joker.

Heath Ledger did an excellent job with this character.  It was by all means the best villain I’ve ever seen in the movies. Heath Ledger even outdid Jack Nicholson, who played The Joker in “Batman” (1992).  Heath’s Joker was the scary kind.  That person was so evil and … broken, that you wouldn’t want him to exist on this planet at all.  But, at the same time, he was so realistic that you could easily meet somebody very similar (minus the make-up, of course) just around the corner.  Really, a masterpiece.

As it stands, it’s difficult to rate this film.  I’ll give it a 5 out of 10, with all 5 points being for The Joker alone.  If you aren’t into movie villains, avoid this film at all costs.

The Weather Man

Yet again another very long break from movies. But this time I’ve got a backlog of good films (read: highly recommended by people, who’s opinions I respect) to watch. So, I started off with “The Weather Man“.

Directed by: Gore Verbinski
Genres: Comedy, Drama
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine, Hope Davis, Gemmenne de la Peña, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Rispoli, Gil Bellows, Judith McConnell, Chris Marrs, Dina Facklis, DeAnna N.J. Brooks, Sia A. Moody, Guy Van Swearingen, Alejandro Pina, Jackson Bubala
IMDB raintg: 7.2
My rating: 8.0 ********

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The Italian Job

Vladimir remind me today that I wanted to see “The Italian Job” – the original version from 1969. After work I rushed to Martin’s DVD club and luckily he had one for me.

Directed by: Peter Collinson
Genres: Action, Comedy, Crime
Cast: Michael Caine, Noel Coward, Benny Hill, Raf Vallone, Tony Beckley, Rossano Brazzi, Margaret Blye, Irene Handl, John Le Mesurier, Fred Emney, John Clive, Graham Payn, Michael Standing, Stanley Caine, Barry Cox
IMDB raintg: 7.3
My rating: 7.0 *******

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Miss Congeniality

Miss Congeniality (2000)I watched “Miss Congeniality” when it was in the movies, but I couldn’t remember a thing except that it had Sandra Bullock in it. I heard that the sequel also came out, so I decided to watch both movies together and see if I was missing anything.

Directed by: Donald Petrie
Genres: Comedy, Thriller
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, Candice Bergen, Ernie Hudson, William Shatner, John DiResta, Heather Burns, Melissa De Sousa, Steve Monroe, Deirdre Quinn, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Asia De Marcos, Ken Thomas, Gabriel Folse
IMDB raintg: 6.2
My rating: 4.0 ****

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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)Since I’ve been choosing a lot of average movies to watch lately, I decided to get something that I saw already, that I knew is good, and that I wouldn’t mind too much watching again. “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” was a perfect match.

Directed by: Frank Oz
Genres: Comedy, Crime
Cast: Steve Martin, Michael Caine, Glenne Headly, Anton Rodgers, Barbara Harris, Ian McDiarmid, Dana Ivey, Meagen Fay, Frances Conroy, Nicole Calfan, Aïna Walle, Cheryl Pay, Nathalie Auffret, Lolly Susi, Rupert Holliday-Evans
IMDB raintg: 6.9
My rating: 7.3 *******

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Watched an interesting film – “Statement” – on DVD. This one is about exciting current days life of those who used to help Nazi during the World War II. Probably not all of them, but surely some of them had all the fun, pictured in the movie. Imagine yourself being wanted by police for crime against humanities, hunted down for execution by some extremist groups (not in the movie, but nicely mentioned), looked for by relatives of your victims, and searched for by your ex-comrades who are afraid that you will let all the secrets out. Now that is some fun!

It is nice to see a European film once in a while, especially when it has to do with Europe and World War II. Somehow American movies are slightly of the ranks for me. Good story, excellent photography, and good acting by Michael Caine all make me give this movie a …

… 7 out of 10.